James Aldrich

Country & Rock Mixing Engineer

James Aldrich on SoundBetter

I am a country and rock mix engineer working in the Portland-Metro Area.

I am a freelance mixing engineer working in the Portland-Metro Area. I studied audio production and music composition at George Fox University at the Contemporary Music Center in Nashville, Tennessee. My genre strengths are country and rock, though I have also worked in pop, indie, R&B, and hip hop as well.

Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.

Interview with James Aldrich

  1. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  2. A: Both of the singles that have been released to date by Post Meridiem were quite enjoyable. Those guys had lots of energy and were ready to work. I worked with them before as a band coach, so getting to be with them in the studio was a true pleasure.

  3. Q: What are you working on at the moment?

  4. A: I've got a couple of projects as of this exact moment. Delta Avenue is working on a couple of new singles with me, and Robert Henry has some studio time with me coming up. Destiny Elle has also reached out to me about an EP she wants to put out. Keep your ear out for all of these projects, because these artists are going places.

  5. Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?

  6. A: I'll have to get back to you on that.

  7. Q: Analog or digital and why?

  8. A: Digital for surgery and precision, analog for color, dirt, and magic.

  9. Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?

  10. A: I promise that it will be a wild ride, but we'll bring your project to life.

  11. Q: What do you like most about your job?

  12. A: Getting to work with someone to bring their idea to life. Watching a project go from an idea in someone's head to something they can hear out loud is very rewarding.

  13. Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?

  14. A: "Wait, you can do that?" And yes, I probably can. ;)

  15. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  16. A: Mixing is not about what the listener does hear; it is about the hundred things they don't notice. Mixing is one big sleight-of-hand magic trick.

  17. Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?

  18. A: What is a specific song (not just artist) that you would like to sound like? Do you have a specific vision for your song, or are you open to seeing where it goes?

  19. Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?

  20. A: Be willing to roll with the flow of the project, and know that there is no "one way" to do things and there are no rules in this game. In the end, if it sounds good, then that's all that matters.

  21. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  22. A: 1. Mac with my DAW 2. Neve Genesys (preferably the 32 input version) 3. AKG C414 4. Squire Bass VI 5. Korg Nautilus That right there is a functioning, high-end, compact studio.

  23. Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?

  24. A: I started getting into recording when I was about 13 or so. It initially started when I wanted to learn how to record myself playing drums. The more time I spent with it, the more I wanted to learn how to record and mix. Eventually, it grew into the passion I have today.

  25. Q: How would you describe your style?

  26. A: Easy-going and full of ideas.

  27. Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?

  28. A: I don't know if there's a specific artist I'd want to work with. I think it more comes down to that I want to work with an artist that only has a loose vision of their project and is willing to develop the idea. Or maybe the Jonas Brothers for the sake of my wife. :P

  29. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  30. A: Trust your instincts and avoid second-guessing at all costs.

  31. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  32. A: Pop and rock. A decent amount of country too, but mostly pop and rock.

  33. Q: What's your strongest skill?

  34. A: Probably mixing. I've spent a lot of time developing that skill. I really enjoy recording too, though sometimes the process can be interesting for clients simply because I like to experiment with unique and non-traditional techniques.

  35. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  36. A: Technical training from my academic background and a wide variety of musical tastes to blend into an artist's style.

  37. Q: What's your typical work process?

  38. A: For recording, if I'm working with a band, I typically like to have them setup and play as if they were performing live. This recording will usually provide our final drum tracks, bass tracks, and maybe some rhythm guitar finals as well. After that I typically move into additional instrument layers, with vocals being the last stage in the process. For a solo artist, it's usually a pretty different process. Typically we'll start with a rough demo where we just kind of rough-track things down for basic ideas and structure, then we go back and remove what we don't like, and replace what we do with final versions. Vocals are still typically the final step. For Mixing, I usually like to first mix the session to what I would consider a possible final mix, and then I will invite the client to a revision session (either in-person or remote) and work with them to get the mix to where we like it. I usually aim to do only one revision session, though I have occasionally done two or three. But in my opinion, the worst thing that can happen to a project is the endless cycle of second-guessing and revisions. Go with your gut and move on.

  39. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  40. A: My personal space for mixing and overdubs is mostly digital-based. I previously used Logic Pro X as my primary DAW, but have since transitioned to using Harrison MixBus 32C due to the more analog sound and console-style workflow. The two other studios I work at most often are Supernatural Sound and The Hallowed Halls, both of which have excellent analog equipment in their recording rooms. Between the 32 channel API1608 at Supernatural Sound, and the 24 channel Neve Genesys at the Hallowed halls (not to mention all the other awesome outboard gear at both locations), I have a pretty great selection of equipment available for clients.

  41. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  42. A: Chris Lorde Alge, Andrew Schepps, and Vance Powell are huge inspirations to me as far as post-production goes.

  43. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  44. A: I am mostly either a mixing engineer or a recording engineer hired to engineer sessions at any of the various studios with which I'm connected. When I'm hired for both roles on the same project, I usually also am given the role of producer.

Robert Henry - Cowboy Hats In California

I was the Mixing Engineer in this production

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